March 19, 2016

Comedians have been trying to wreck Trump with mockery, but it doesn't work.

And that's terrifying, explains Scott Timberg at Salon, using this bit from "The Late Show," when Stephen Colbert got the real Donald Trump on the telephone. Colbert had an opportunity "to skewer Trump hard."
Somehow, Trump has found a way to inoculate himself from criticism....

He makes fun of his own tie, he praises the state where he’s appearing, South Carolina, in his usual vague language (“It’s a great, great place”), and drops his comically familiar campaign slogan (“We’re gonna make America great again.”). Colbert brings up Trump’s tendency to work blue, and the billionaire developer explains, coolly, why he sometimes uses sharp language. And it makes utterly no sense....

When the two discuss politics, Trump mentions that he would, if he were president, push for a new Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia even if it was an election year — and then contradicts himself by saying that President Obama should wait for the next president to do it. (Colbert doesn’t call him on it the fact that this makes no sense, either.) Alright, sounds good!

The audience had its laugh and Colbert got some good lines across. But the strange thing is that Trump won the exchange. He was mocked, laughed at, and booed by the audience. “You’re not making any friends here, Donald,” Colbert said as the crowd groaned. He may not have convinced the liberals and progressives gathered in the studio. But for a lot of people watching on television, this came across as just riffing. For them, this was just fun. For Trump it certainly seemed to be....

What’s dangerous is that Trump can get in and out of an interview with someone as sharp as Colbert without being demolished. Colbert fans came out of this thinking their guy won, but Trump fans have every reason to think the same thing.
This really shouldn't be a surprise. Trump should be most comfortable with comic entertainers. How many hours has he gone back and forth with Howard Stern? There's no comic interviewer sharper than Stern. Trump is comfortable walking into comic abuse, so he's playing Colbert, et al., for free media coverage. If these leftish comedians think they're laying a trap for him, they are fools. But they get their ratings, and the in-house crowd laughs with them, so they don't feel the pain.

62 comments:

David Begley said...

Watch Jon Stewart get called out of retirement. Soon. Big target. Big money. Save Hillary.

Gusty Winds said...

Oooooo....it's dangerous. So is hyperbole.

Hagar said...

Colbert is sharp?

Gusty Winds said...

Trump has the ability to laugh at himself. It is a common trait among people who are comfortable with themselves.

Something his current competition lacks.

EDH said...

Trump presents himself and his candidacy in a "take it or leave it" fashion, rather than the typical politician's pander.

As a deal maker, he knows the power that posture confers.

whitney said...

I think they are befuddled by the fact the Trump is not stupid. It's one the many lies they tell themselves. They KNOW he's stupid. So every time he contradicts that piece of knowledge they can't figure out how.

TosaGuy said...

Trump's ability to disarm this wing of liberalism is the only thing I like about him.

Gahrie said...

Such attacks only make Trump stronger...they confirm the opinions of his supporters.

Oso Negro said...

Again the media has played the key role in selection of the Republican nominee. The cheerful fellation of The Donald for ratings has kept him on the lead of every news program for months. Once the nomination is in the bag, the critical examination of his candidacy will begin. It won't be pretty. He responds poorly to insults and criticism and he will be beset from all quarters. I suspect Hillary will demolish him in the general, as the current polls suggest, and this before the main assault on his character, record, and lack of policies.

traditionalguy said...

Trump knows all their moves. The liberal shtick is easy to counter. He just laughs with them and loves them like they are all his new friends in a big Party. And they love him back. And his cross over vote grows.

The Breitbart Gay star Milos has made Trump into a very popular icon with the Gays. Nobody tell Pastor Ted.

MadisonMan said...

Trump had his own show. He knows how it all works.

Phil 3:14 said...

Say what you want and never apologize. Not my recipe for a leader but apparently a popular thing nowadays.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Ground attack fighter pilots have a saying about anti-aircraft gunnery sites. "Don't get into a pissing contest with a skunk."

aritai said...

It's hard for a comic to skewer Joe Average, most of whom are transactional, meaning ask them a question they either ask or guess the context, and give you the appropriate answer based on the context. Including giving better than you got if someone is playing gotcha. If there's animosity in the question answer in kind. Can't make a deal if you've a fixed position because it will be used against you. Means the answers may well very from day to day. Each is a separate decision to be measured and course corrected at some time in the future. What every business person knows. Certainly any Wharton graduate. Else you're into religion or political dogma. One of the reasons Andrew Jackson was able to destroy both existing parties in his day is he refused to be cornered by dogma, since that what was required to be the "representative of the common man" - since no one else was because they had vested interests, dogma, pride constraining their freedom of action to represent the common man. In a time when the citizens feel abandoned, because they are, every time the establishment tries to buy their love with a handout, it's like a kick in the gut. The end of the U.S. and for that matter the global Establishment can't come too soon. Your pTb (p. T. Barnum as he calls himself) has far larger ambitions than just cleaning up the U.S. and returning to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. oh my.

Paul said...

Trump is SO inside their OODA loop. That's why he will slaughter Hillary in the general. The haters can't see it which makes it all the more enjoyable watching their steadfast predictions crumble again and again.

Michael K said...

Trump presents himself and his candidacy in a "take it or leave it" fashion, rather than the typical politician's pander.

Exactly and this will blow Hillary and her phony schtick away. There are already Democrat pundits scared to death of him.

I don't like him and can hardly watch him but I can't watch any of them. I think he will win and I just hope the GOP gets smart enough to join the show. He could use some serious advisors.

He is Mussolini and Andrew Jackson and William Jennings Bryan rolled into one. Some serious people need to be aboard to keep the train on the tracks AFTER the election. I just hope Cruz is wise enough to see this.

This is a revolution and revolutions can go very wrong.

Paul Snively said...

C'mon. This is simplicity itself.

Colbert, Stewart, and their ilk are no sharper than the average bear. You do not have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to invite a guest you know will be at pains to avoid looking stupid themselves, avoid being controversial, and stay on message because they're trying to reach a hypothetical viewing audience, not the live audience. The result is as predictable as a Road Runner cartoon.

Whatever else you may say about Trump, he doesn't care if he looks stupid to you, doesn't care that he's controversial, and doesn't care about being consistent. He cares about being perceived as able to get things done when surrounded by incompetence and dysfunction. I'm not a particular fan, but neither have I heard anyone cogently suggest why that perception is in error. As for "Trump is a proto-fascist," that ship sailed with Woodrow Wilson at the helm, with Franklin Roosevelt doubling down, and Barack Obama calling for a split.

tds said...

I'm suprised that someone seriously thinks it is comedian obligation to destroy somebody.

PS. Is Colbert actually sharp?

Sebastian said...

@MK: "Some serious people need to be aboard to keep the train on the tracks AFTER the election" Now there's a campaign slogan: with some serious people aboard, his train might just stay on the tracks.

@PS: "doesn't care about being consistent." True. Pro: he can be anything to anyone. Con: he can do anything or any other thing.

traditionalguy said...

Megyn Kelley needs some comedy in her act. Her Hour of Hating Trump all of the time, like she is Joan of Arc of Seductive Female Journalists is getting her nowhere.

Last night CNN produced a long panel discussion that all agreed the sweet and innocent Kelley had only attacked Trump as a mysogonist once in one debate but he wont forget it.

That proves CNN has not watched Fox News since August. Kelley is the one obsessed with Trump and decrying that he must be defeated in every comment to every guest she stages to agree with her. Her power of seduction is strong, and the battle goes on.

Anglelyne said...

When the two discuss politics, Trump mentions that he would, if he were president, push for a new Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia even if it was an election year — and then contradicts himself by saying that President Obama should wait for the next president to do it. (Colbert doesn’t call him on it the fact that this makes no sense, either.)

How does this description of Dem SOP - do as I say not as I do - "make no sense"? "This is what I would do to achieve my ends, but the opposition shouldn't do this"? Sounds like just another day in D.C. to me.

What’s dangerous is that Trump can get in and out of an interview with someone as sharp as Colbert without being demolished.

It's a sign of how flabby and cowardly the "conservative" opposition has been for years in this country, that people like Colbert or Stewart can pass for "sharp".

Years and years of no pushback on the reigning progressive narrative, years and years of huge laughs and applause for the equivalent of saying "George Bush is so stupid" with a teenage-girl sneer, and the liberal game deteriorates to the same sorry state as the conservative's.

Bob Ellison said...

No, Colbert is not sharp. I get the impression that Colbert is his own head writer, whereas he should only aspire to editor status.

Trump is full of contradictions that befuddle his enemies: he's a gentleman, not a boor, usually. (Look at how he behaved when Carson failed to come on stage in that one debate.) His wives and families seem to love and admire him, not hate him the way we expect people to hate egocentric patriarchs. As noted above, he seems thin-skinned, but he seems to enjoy laughing at himself.

Difficult to pin down. And his smarts and quick wit are real. That confuses dimwits like Colbert.

Even the dumb things Trump says, like about Megyn Kelly and how he wants to bomb terrorists' families, help him with his main audience. They reinforce the impression that he's not a phony.

Michael K said...

"Now there's a campaign slogan: "

No, they need to keep their mouths shut and let him do the talking but he will need help.

We have had marginal competence in DC since Reagan and he was hated before he became president. Remember "The Amiable Dunce?"

Matthew Sablan said...

They're just out of practice from not punching up often enough in the last few years.

RAH said...

Trump reacts to attacks,especially on his business, Rubio successfully needled him and Trump fell for it. But mostly Trump does not care what left wing interviewers say to him I watched him reduce Stephanoupolis to muteness when he went on about Putin It was stunning. Yet George had Trump on for another interview. Trump is great ratings and he knows it.

Matthew Sablan said...

"PS. Is Colbert actually sharp?"

-- I have never seen anything to think so. He's a man who thinks shallow parody is deep thinking. The problem with parody/satire is that, without a bit of tenderness to it -- it is just mean spirited sarcasm. Good parody/satire has some affection for the source, and is either trying to gently mock it, sort of like lovers flirting, or is trying to expose the weaknesses while also demonstrating how the thing could better itself.

The problem with Colbert's show, when it was on Comedy Central, is that it was not unique and simply existed as a place for people who agreed with Colbert to laugh at their group thought misconceptions of conservatives. All the subtlety and play of parody/satire is lost in that environment.

grackle said...

Again the media has played the key role in selection of the Republican nominee.

If by “key role” of the media the commentor means being easily and unwittingly manipulated by Trump, I’ll agree.

The cheerful fellation of The Donald for ratings has kept him on the lead of every news program for months.

Not cheerful, reluctant. It’s undoubtedly true that they like the ratings but they would much rather have high ratings AND be able to ruin Trump to boot. That hasn’t happened so far – to their extreme frustration. The newshounds are left scratching their heads over why their best PC canards, their most probing gotcha questions, their half-truths and hyperbole have so little effect.

Once the nomination is in the bag, the critical examination of his candidacy will begin. It won't be pretty.

About the only thing left for the MSM to critically examine not already unremittingly covered is if they could somehow manufacture a bogus charge of murder – which they are working on right now with all the talk about Trump promoting violence. But I’m wondering where the commentor has been the last few months. Trump has been vilified from the start. It would be difficult not to notice.

He responds poorly to insults and criticism and he will be beset from all quarters.

Translation: Unlike the ordinary politician Trump fights back. All the betas are fussing about it.

Let’s see now – Trump has been condemned by the eGOP, the MSM, the Pope, Jimmy Carter, Obama, the academics, the intellectuals, the Democrats, Univision, most of the far Right blogs, all of the Lefty blogs and the Parliament of England. I am wondering just what “quarter” is left to “beset” Trump.

I suspect Hillary will demolish him in the general, as the current polls suggest, and this before the main assault on his character, record, and lack of policies.

If that was true the Left would be promoting Trump for the nomination. At first they actually did so, assuming he would be an easy defeat. But not now. They’ve watched him bring every opposing GOP candidate down. Cruz will be next. And they probably recall what happened after Hillary accused Trump of sexism.

aritai said...

re: serious people. After the convention he'll announce several "deals" Starting with Cabinet officers. Carson Gets Education , Carly Treasury and Commerce (Trump will do the first rounds of Trade deals and leave it to Commerce to execute, Sanders gets Labor, Kasich gets State and Postmaster General, Mattis gets defense and homeland security, Rubio gets Energy and Health, Cruz gets to pick the Attorney General, and any of the Cabinet positions as a sign of respect, but Trump asks Cruz that the country really needs him to stay in the Senate, convert into a House of Repeal of laws and regulations of their choosing, and start the process where New Zealand shrunk its government by more than 50%, services improved in all dimensions, no one died or starved (minus the establishment who had to find a real job). As Cruz is doing that Trump will build a new unity - coalition party around Cruz, killing off the GoP a Dems (like Andrew Jackson did). They will probably call the new party "the American Party" which Trump will cede to Cruz as well as his second term, while he returns to more important work. He tells his people to remember his only rule "no surprises, user your own intellect and judgment, move quickly and I'll back you up and I won't, because I can't, micromanage. Talk to the people that have worked for me before if you have any concerns. Including some of those I've had to let go, so you know when to go, and if and when I'll be asking for your chair back. "Do we understand each other?" "Good, now I'm off to gutting the establishment out of the rest of the world's organizations, and setting metrics for good governance worldwide, establishing if not returning them to governments of their people for their people, by their people. With the reward being peer trade relationships and a hand-up when needed. Strange how standing on a different planet with a larger field of view simplifies solutions to otherwise intractable problems. Ok, I fantasize. But it's a good fantasy.

sydney said...

As for "Trump is a proto-fascist," that ship sailed with Woodrow Wilson at the helm, with Franklin Roosevelt doubling down, and Barack Obama calling for a split.

Agree. We have been living under a fascist state for a very long time and it just keeps getting expanded. I have no idea whether or not Trump will continue expanding it. I suspect he will. But I know Hillary will. Sigh. I wish Rand Paul had done better, but the electorate doesn't seem interested in reigning in the power of government over our lives.

traditionalguy said...

But...but...wait until a neo Tailgunner Joe McCarthy debates the poor naive, loser Trump.

Oh, Pastor Cruz already did that, Nevermind.

Michael K said...

"Unlike the ordinary politician Trump fights back. All the betas are fussing about it. "

Well said. There was once a story about somebody saying "Please don't throw me in that briar patch."

Robert Cook said...

Are comedians trying to "destroy" Trump? Mightn't it just be they are just doing what comedians do...cultivating laughs from whatever is going on in the country that everyone is paying attention to?

"The problem with parody/satire is that, without a bit of tenderness to it -- it is just mean spirited sarcasm. Good parody/satire has some affection for the source...."

Parody and satire are two different forms of humor; parody typically does--or should--have affection for the subject being parodied. Satire is a different thing, a weapon of attack. Good satire should be a savaging of the subject, as satire is inspired by hatred of the thing being satirized. Satire that is not contemptuous of its subject isn't satire at all, but is simply...parody.

Oso Negro said...

grackle - Which candidate do you think is more distressing to the left? Trump or Cruz?

AllenS said...

Ah, Oso, perhaps the nominee who has the most primary votes?

Ken B said...

Colbert's schtick is mocking the lower class. Is it any wonder Trump won, yet Colbert's fans feel good about themselves?

Tom said...

If Howard Stern endorses him, it's done. He's won.

Bob Ellison said...

Robert Cook, I agree with your definitions.

But good satire doesn't just preach to the choir. That's all Colbert does. He doesn't open minds up. He did his pale O'Reilly satire for years on cable, and convinced everyone not already leftist that he wasn't funny or incisive. Satire without humor, inclusiveness, or parody-- echo-chamber satire. Even the people inside the chamber start shifting in their seats.

Good satire is something like This Is Spinal Tap. That has elements of simple parody, farce, and other forms of comedy in it as well. (My favorite moment is the Stonehenge scene.) Team America: World Police is another example. Everyone on every side gets hit hard in that one.

Matthew Sablan said...

Right, but satire that attacks still has something to it other than mean spiritedness. That's all Colbert has going for him.

Boxty said...

"Trump mentions that he would, if he were president, push for a new Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia even if it was an election year — and then contradicts himself by saying that President Obama should wait for the next president to do it. (Colbert doesn’t call him on it the fact that this makes no sense, either.)"

The Salon writer is obviously hoping that nobody listens to the clip on youtube (where I had to go to find it since the article didn't link to the full clip). Trump didn't contradict himself and was very clear. He said the President should exercise his authority to nominate a candidate but the Senate has the authority to decline to confirm the nominee until the next President is chosen.

Either the Salon writer is terminally stupid or he thinks his readers are too stupid or lazy to look at the video for themselves.

wildswan said...

Maybe the rule was the comedians could be as offensive as they liked while candidates had to be as bland as oatmeal. But "the rule" really was "offensive as they liked about Christians, the middle class, banks and Americans" while candidates had to be "bland as oatmeal about Islamic terrorists, illegal immigration, PC crybullies, and false accusations of rape". But that was a fad or a fashion. Fashions pass but the left-PC axis doesn't think of itself as a fashion so it cannot see that it is passing. Real people are able to laugh with Colbert AND with Trump and being able to do so is liberating and raises their consciousness. And the more Colbert and the others scream "no, no only laugh with ME" the funnier the whole thing is.

rehajm said...

The problem with Colbert's show, when it was on Comedy Central, is that it was not unique and simply existed as a place for people who agreed with Colbert to laugh at their group thought misconceptions of conservatives.

Yes, this. I haven't been tuning in regularly (at all) to his new show but from what I've seen, especially when it began, is that he isn't playing the snarky character from his Comedy Central Show but supposedly trying for a little more respectful modern leftie kind of Dick Cavett thing. Those expecting to see him 'skewer' anyone is supposed to come away disappointed. Sounds like he's succeeding at that.

Not to take away anything from Trump's performance on the show, which I haven't seen...

Fabi said...

grakle@9:50 -- Amen. Trump is running circles around all the so-called smart and serious set. It seems to me that every single argument brought forth by the anti-Trumpers includes a false premise, demonstrated untruths, and/or elements which are unprovable. Until these jokers advance honest arguments, they won't be able to lay a glove on the guy. Their continued self-delusion has driven them crazy -- Trump Derangement Syndrome. I don't have any sympathy for them at all. I'm rather enjoying their suffering!

Horseball said...

Every Presidential candidate should have too sit for an interview with Howard Stern
Those guys like Rubio or Cruz or whoever wouldn't last five minutes.

Oso Negro said...

AllenS - I do not think that the total primary votes correlate perfectly with difficulty the opposition faces in the general election.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Unless people preface their criticism of Trump with a full acknowledgement of who Hillary Clinton actually is, their criticisms are irrelevant.
Of course, to do so would totally negate any real-world sting their criticism might have so most folks, especially Lefties, pointedly avoid doing so.

Oso Negro said...

Cracker, they will not do it and you know it.

Paul said...

I love the "just wait until X and then Trump is going down" contingent with their willful stupidity and fervent wishful thinking. It's immensely entertaining to watch but these people are into a dangerous level of demonic hatred and I fear for Trump and his familiy's safety.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Is Colbert sharp? Excerpts I've seen of him interviewing say: yes, he is.

Jonathan Graehl said...

I have a policy of not linking or reading anything on Salon. If people want to quote excerpts that they personally will vouch for, fine.

rcocean said...

People like Stewart and Colbert work in an echo chamber. Their fans like them. Trump is amazing in that he's willing to go anywhere (except kelly's show) to talk.

I hope once he gets nominated, he cuts back on the comedy.

rcocean said...

Colbert is not sharp.

Exactly. He needs a script and team of writers. Stewart was slightly better ad libbing, but not by much.

sunsong said...

What's funny is that both Bernie and Hillary trump Trump.

Brando said...

So much wrong here--why are "comedians" supposed to destroy anyone? Comedians are supposed to be finding the funny wherever it is. My problem with the Daily Show was not that it was "liberal" but that it failed to find any funny in the liberals (and there's plenty of funny there!). Hey--your job isn't social justice! It's making people laugh, and stop failing at it you nerds.

Now, if "journalists" can't call out Trump on his BS, then what a surprise, the Fourth Estate fails again. Makes sense, they've given Hillary all the free passes she needed. This awful choice this November is in part due to a failed media that cannot take crooks to task.

The only silver lining this November is that one of these people has to lose. But then, America is going to lose as well. Hopefully we'll at least be entertained in the meantime.

Bread and circuses, folks! Enjoy it.

Brando said...

"PS. Is Colbert actually sharp?"

Maybe he's graded on a curve.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Years and years of no pushback on the reigning progressive narrative, years and years of huge laughs and applause for the equivalent of saying "George Bush is so stupid" with a teenage-girl sneer, and the liberal game deteriorates to the same sorry state as the conservative's.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGl1CCprCeU

grackle said...

Rubio successfully needled him and Trump fell for it.

Is that why Rubio is out the race and his political future a question mark? Yep, Trump sure “fell” for that one!

grackle - Which candidate do you think is more distressing to the left? Trump or Cruz?

Trump, without a doubt. I think most of them believe, as do I, that Cruz would be an easier opponent for the Democrat in the general election.

Cruz has a superior organization for caucus-type primaries. It does a good job of coaching and directing Cruz’s supporters in regards to the myriad of caucus rules and sites. Cruz is a person that dots i’s and crosses t’s so this expertise is not unexpected and is one of his strong points. So Cruz could win a caucus state or two. But Cruz is a striker and the Democrats know how to win in the octagon against a striker.

But Trump is a ground and pound’er, specializing in painful submissions. He’s not going to bother much with jabs, crosses and uppercuts. He’s going to kick them, take them down, rake’em with his elbows to bloody them up and put a choke or an armbar on them. The Marquis of Queensberry is going to roll over in his grave. And 50 million leftwing heads are going to explode.

TosaGuy said...

Any host can appear how they want to when they can edit the videotape

Unknown said...

I think the democrat's palatable fear is they know their base is stupid enough to be attracted to vote for Trump. Particularly when he is setting this up to be a battle of the sexes and he's running against a man hating harradan. The dems and their media allies know they need a man that can be cowed in order for her schtick to work. Trump will be plucking votes from their fabled "coalition" and there is nothing they can do about it except hope Trump implodes. As they say "hope is not a plan."

n.n said...

In playground politics the only sensible response is: I know you are, but what am I?

Or some variation, including the often favored "sticks and stones", "I'm rubber, you're glue", etc.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The Media is supposed to HURT Republicans, to make them look bad a d to make Americans like Republicans less. When the Media can't it decides the Republican is DANGEROUS.

Predictable and pathetic.

Fen said...

"The audience had its laugh and Colbert got some good lines across"

The audience is a bunch of sheep that laugh and boo on prompt from the "applause" screens.

Char Char Binks said...

"There's no comic interviewer sharper than Stern.". Stern was never a comedian, and his juvenile schtick is old, repetitive, and sad.